Public Supports Protection of Bristol Bay
On Monday, Anglo American, who had been invested in developing the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, announced that they would be pulling out of the project. This company is one of the world’s largest mining conglomerates. Apparently, Anglo American decided that the project was too much of a risk, and it was worth $300 million to get out.
In the meantime, nearly three in four Americans who commented on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment supported protecting Bristol Bay, Alaska, from harmful mining development.
Approximately 654,000 of the over 895,000 total comments supported the EPA’s efforts to protect Bristol Bay, with numbers even higher among comments made by individuals (not mass mailed) and those coming from Alaska. The Bristol Bay region is a destination for sportsmen and anglers across the world and is known for its trophy rainbow trout, king salmon, and many other fish species.
The comments coming specifically from Alaska were even more impressive, with nearly 5,000 people – or 84% of total comments – supportive of the EPA’s efforts to protect Bristol Bay. Those numbers were even higher in Bristol Bay, where 98% of over 1,200 comments are in favor of lasting protections for Bristol Bay. Among national individual comments, over 90% supported the EPA.
The EPA began its Watershed Assessment after 9-federally recognized tribes, commercial and sport fishermen, and others in Bristol Bay requested Clean Water Act protections from the proposed Pebble Mine. After two drafts, two rounds of public comments, and outside peer review, the EPA is preparing to finalize the Watershed Assessment later this year. In the draft assessment, the EPA determined that even without incident, a mine on the scale of Pebble could destroy up to 90 miles of salmon streams and 4,800 acres of wetland salmon spawning habitat.
Now we must continue to insist that this beautiful and bountiful resource be protected! American Rivers listed the Bristol Bay Rivers as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2011. We need to keep up the fight to protect this special place!
Tell the Obama Administration and the EPA that Pebble Mine is not worth the risk. They must exercise their authority under 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, and protect this valuable resource today!